Last updated on March 25th, 2020
An Alaska cruise is at the top of many people’s wish list. Quilters can get the best of both worlds by participating in a quilting cruise that includes an Alaska itinerary. But you do not have to be on a dedicated quilter’s cruise to explore and enjoy the quilt shops in an Alaska destination. This list of Alaska quilt shops will allow you to indulge in fabric shopping at all of these popular Alaska destinations.
Alaska is big – really, really big. It is in fact over twice the size of the state of Texas. The state has eight national parks that protects some of the most majestic and pristine scenery in the country, but these are also some of the least accessible national parks for easy exploration.
There really is no easier or more comfortable way to see the dramatic fjords of Glacier Bay National Park and the rest of southeast Alaska’s spectacular scenery than on a cruise. In the last few years I have taken an Alaskan cruise a couple of times and have enjoyed each one immensely. One cruise was a seven day round trip tour from Seattle with Holland America. The second was a cruise-land tour with Princess that started in Fairbanks, AK and ended in Vancouver, BC.
At each of the ports that the ships stopped at, I made sure to also take time to explore the quilt shops in town. With long, cold and dark winters, quilting is a popular craft in Alaska. As a result, I found the shops to be quite diverse and well stocked, especially with unique Alaskan themed items. Since these shops rely on cruise tourism income, they were all very centrally located and easy to get to on my own from my cruise ship.
Alaska Quilt Shops in Popular Cruise Ports
The Quilted Raven
My cruise-tour stopped in Anchorage for a few hours on the way to the ship – just long enough to have a good lunch and check out the local quilt shop in downtown Anchorage. The Quilted Raven proudly sells fabrics by Alaskan artists like Barbara Lavallee, Ayse Gilbert and John Van Zyle. Besides a nice collection of fabrics, the shop also sells hand-dyed yarns and counted cross stitch kits.
A stop at Denali National Park is one of the highlights of an Alaska cruise-tour. Unlike the big national parks in the lower 48 states, Denali only has one 90 mile road going through it, and most of it is not accessible by private vehicles.
To go into the depths of the park, you’ll need to take a bus tour that is either organized by the cruise company or one that is offered by the park district. The scenery along the bus route is truly majestic, even if you do not see the top of Mt. Denali and you’ll most likely see some wildlife along the way as well. Just be prepared for a potentially long day in a bouncy bus.
Northern Heart Originals
Outside the Denali park entrance is a strip of shops and eateries including Northern Heart Originals where you will find unique gifts, fabric panels, kits and embroidery options designed by the owner along with a nice selections of Alaskan themed batik fabrics.
Fairbanks is often the starting or stopping destination for cruise-tours that combine both a land and a sea itinerary. For 70 days during the summer months, Fairbanks has 24 hours of midnight sun which provides a totally different experience than what you will have much further south.
Fairbanks has a wide range of summer activities and sights that entertain and provide an insight into the local culture. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit Fairbanks in winter (not on a cruise-tour) because it is a perfect location to see the northern lights.
Fairbanks also has two quilt shops, each one with a different personality.
Northern Threads is a large shop that specializes in Alaskan themed quilt kits that incorporate laser cut Alaskan applique patterns. They also carry a large selection of wildlife themed panels and with over 2000 bolts of fabric, there are no lack of choices to add to your stash. Fairbanks is a large city, so depending on where you are staying in Fairbanks, you may need to take a taxi or Uber to get to this shop, but it will be well worth it.
Ol Sew in Sew
You can’t miss this cute little quilt shop in the heart of downtown Fairbanks – just look for the big quilting themed mural on the side of the building. Inside Ol Sew and Sew you’ll also find unique small quilt kits designed just for the shop and a nice selection of fabrics.
I thought Ketchikan was one of the cutest towns that the ship stopped at on my Alaskan cruises. As with all the cruise port stops, there were a variety of excursion to choose from. However, I also enjoyed just walking around town, exploring the shops, seeing the colorful totem poles and eating a salmon crepe for lunch.
Whale’s Tale Quilt Shop
You’ll find the The Whales’s Tail Quilt Shop on the second floor of one of the buildings right by the cruise dock, which makes it a very quick and easy walk from the ship. It’s not a big shop, but it’s worth a browse, especially for Alaskan themed fabrics.
Juneau is Alaska’s state capital and is unique in that it it is a capital that cannot be reached by a road from the mainland. Since the city is not far from Glacier Bay National Park, it is often one of the ports of call on an Alaskan cruise itinerary.
One of the most popular sights in Juneau is the Mendenhall Glacier which is about 12 miles from downtown Juneau. Cruise ships offer excursions to see the glacier, though it is also quite easy to go see it on your own using public transportation that leaves right from the cruise ship dock.
In the heart of downtown Juneau is the Changing Tides quilt shop. Here you’ll find a very nice selection of Alaskan themed fabrics, panels and kits, as well as other fabrics for your projects. The store also carries locally dyed yarns for all the knitters out there.
In Sitka I took one of the cruise ship excisions that provided many different wildlife viewing opportunities. The tour took us to see otters swimming in the ocean, beautiful birds at the Alaska Raptor Center and rescued orphaned bears at the Fortress of the Bear. Fortunately, there was also a little time left at the end of the day to check out Sitka’s quilt shop.
Abby’s Reflection quilt shop is located in the heart of historic Sitka. I bought some silk screened panels made at the shop depicting Alaskan scenes which I incorporated into my Alaskan themed quilt. The shop offers locally designed quilt patterns as well as unique Sitka fabric with iconic images of southeast Alaska.
I learned all about Skagway’s wild gold rush days at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. The White Pass and Yukon train ride is also a fun and easy way to explore the mountain scenery that towers over Skagway and to learn more about the area’s history.
You’ll find the Rushin Tailor’s Quilt Alaska store centrally located in Skagway and an easy walk from the ship. The shop was packed from floor to ceiling with Alaskan themed fabrics, quilt samples, quilt patterns and a variety of quilt kits. Give yourself plenty of time to browse the displays and the sample quilts for inspiration.
Each of these ports has many great sights and activities and it was always hard to pick just one shore excursion. The amount of time spent in port varies with each cruise itinerary, but as a quilter, you’ll want to make sure you leave a little time to check out all of these great Alaska quilt shops as well. And if you are taking a dedicated quilting cruise, then you will definitely want to visit these quilt shops in Alaska with all your new quilting friends.
Hope this list of Alaska Quilt shops helps you find your next Alaska quilting inspiration.
Thanks for visiting.